Livewire, Starlight’s Adolescent Program Trialled at Royal Children’s Hospital

Since 1988, the Starlight Children’s Foundation (Starlight) has been delivering programs in partnership with health professionals to support children, young people and their families who are living with a serious illness or health condition. Starlight is the broadest reaching children’s charity in Australia, supporting children and teenagers with all types of serious illness, including mental health conditions. Young people represent over 20% of admissions at some paediatric hospitals and typically …

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Equally Well: Improving the Physical Health of People Living with Mental Illness

Join us in Albury, NSW from Wednesday 11 – Friday 13 October 2017 for the 9thAustralian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium. Russell Roberts, Associate Professor of Leadership at Charles Sturt University and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Sydney joins us this year to discuss “Equally well: Improving the physical health of people living with mental illness”. People living with mental illness die twenty years earlier than the general …

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Therapy Has Different Forms Than Chatting in a Room

Psychologist Maz Miller used to prescribe fresh air and exercise to her patients all the time, until one day she got tired of talking about it. Frustrated with the limitations of her office, she got up mid-session and took her client out for a walk. “I could tell there was something different,” she says. “The client seemed to open up a lot more; the whole session was flowing.” The results …

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How People With Mental Illness Can Weather-Proof Finances for Bumpy Spending Patterns

Melbourne street artist Akemi Ito* once maxed out a credit card in a single day buying $3500 of homewares online. “Back then I could get credit cards,” he says of the time in the late 1990s. “Now my credit history is so appalling I can’t get credit cards.” As someone living with bipolar, the 39 year-old’s spending spree arose out of a manic episode. More recently, his manic episodes have led …

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The Australian Scientists Cracking the Genetic Code of Clinical Depression

Two-thirds of Australians with clinical depression have used multiple antidepressants to manage their condition, the nation’s largest study on depression has found. More than 10,000 adults living with the mental illness have so far enrolled in the Australian Genetics of Depression Study and researchers have released some of the preliminary data. Lead investigator Nick Martin at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute says the data highlights that current treatments are …

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Medical Staff Mental Illness: Getting Help With No Fear

An expert advisory committee will examine how regulatory bodies can seek to protect patient safety without discouraging health practitioners from taking steps to ensure they are mentally fit to practice. At its latest meeting, the Council of Australian Governments Health Council discussed moves by several states to reconsider the mandatory nature of the notifications process that covers practitioners who may have an impairment. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency requires …

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An Outline of Recovery Based, Psychology Focussed Therapeutic Groups in an Inpatient Mental Health Unit

The Adult Mental Health Unit (AMHU) at The Canberra Hospital is an acute inpatient unit that provides treatment for people with severe mental health problems. The 37 bed unit which opened in 2012 is one of the most modern of its kind in Australia. At AMHU treatment consists of a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial interventions based upon a recovery orientated framework that is designed to empower people and instil …

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Understanding and Addressing the Causes of Behaviour

Dementia Support Australia (DSA) consultants often find that the smallest changes can have the biggest impact on a person’s wellbeing.  Just like they were able to do for Jerry. Jerry has been living in a care home for over a year and was referred to the DSA for ‘unexpected aggression’. During the day Jerry would sweep the back veranda of the care home– sometimes spending whole mornings and afternoons outside. …

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Mental Illness Need Not Be a Death Sentence, Allan Fels Warns

People with a serious mental illness are dying on average 14 to 23 years earlier than other Australians, prompting a push for a ­national focus on delivering longer, healthier, happier lives. National Mental Health Commission chairman Allan Fels said yesterday it was neither acceptable nor inevitable that people with mental illness had poorer physical health and died sooner. Ahead of a speech to the ­National Press Club, Professor Fels said …

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Parenting With a Mental Illness

When you meet 34-year-old mother-of-two Narelle* for the first time, you’re not actually meeting her, but her ‘representative’ as she tells it. “She’s the one who laughs and smiles a lot and says all of the right things so that people walk away thinking what a capable and loving mother she is,” Narelle admits. “It’s not so bad when I only have to endure short interactions, but it makes things …

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